Merchant of Death
Money, Guns, Planes, and the Man Who Makes War Possible

Blood from Stones

Visit Douglas Farah's
author page at

Press Releases

The Administrtation is Still Oblivious on Taylor
Yesterday the House International Relations subcommittee on Africa held a hearing on Liberia and its long path toward reconstruction. What is truely astonishing is that the lead administration person on Africa, assistant secretary of state Jendayi Frazer, mentioned Charles Taylor exactly twice, in the same paragraph. It was a pro forma statement of interest in getting Taylor handed over for trial. That was it. The other administration officials testifying made no mention of Taylor at all.

This is astounding, given Taylor's continued influence despite his ties to terrorists, transnational criminal groups and crimes against humanity. He wields influence in Liberia through his proxies such as his ex-wife Jewell, House speaker Edwin Snowe, and myriad other criminal associates on the U.S and UN travel ban lists but now holding positions of power in Liberia. The administration made no mention of Taylor's ongoing activities, his past assassination attempts against other West African heads of state or trying to track his wealth stashed abroad.

Fortunately, there were other voices that brought these concerns to the forefront. Rep. Ed Royce R-California, a long-time champion of Africa in general and having Taylor stand trial, fully understands and clearly articulated the role Taylor continues to play.

Here is part of his opening statement, which is far more eloquent and realistic than anything Frazer or other administration officials had to say:

"The new Liberian government's road ahead would be far less treacherous, however, and the futures of the country and West Africa would be far more secure, if the warlord who brought so much destruction to the region was forced to face justice before the Special Court for Sierra Leone, which has indicted Charles Taylor on 17 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity for his destruction of Sierra Leone.

"Justice demands that Taylor face the Court. I will remind my colleagues of a hearing the Africa Subcommittee held several years ago, when I was its chairman, in which Sierra Leonean boys and girls with amputated hands and arms spoke to us -- victims of Taylor. The Special Court, which is United Nations backed and U.S. financed, is challenging the culture of impunity plaguing West Africa, helping establish critical standards of accountability. It needs to succeed, and it needs Charles Taylor.

There's also a practical reason to send Taylor to the Court. Until he’s tried, he continues to plot in seaside Calabar, Nigeria. Taylor says he'll return to Liberia, and his track record suggests he probably will. To subject Liberians and West Africans to another Taylor nightmare would be unconscionable."

David Crane, the former prosecutor for the Special Court for Sierra Leone, who indicted Taylor on 17 counts of crimes against humanity, also raised the issue forcefully. Here is part of what he said:

"Charles Taylor has been the catalyst of most of the human tragedy and political instability of the region, backed by his compatriots, Col. Muammar Abu Minyar al-QADHAFI of Libya and President Blasé Camporie of Burkina Faso, among other criminal elements.

"That relationship with these two heads of state and the resultant political instability still remains. Overlay Taylor’s continued meddling in the affairs of the region, to include the attempted assassination of President Conte of Guinea in 2005, attest to his determination to do what he promised as he was escorted up the steps of that Nigerian airliner, in August of 2003, with various presidents of several African countries, that he would be back. He meant it then and he means it to this day. He will be back."

So there you have it. Everyone but the Bush administration can see the regional train wreck coming. When it comes, what will Frazer and the other say about Charles Taylor?

Can the West Save Africa, and Should It?
U.S. Designates Libyan al Qaeda Affiliate
Maintained by Winter Tree Media, LLC